If you’re a climber, then you know that your feet are the most important points of contact with the rock. A secure stance and excellent friction is crucial for a successful climb. However, because not all climbing is the same, there are climbing shoes for different disciplines, different types of rock and different wall inclinations. With such a variety, we understand that people who are just getting into climbing can feel overwhelmed when trying to make a decision. The main differences between the different disciplines’ models are the shape of the last, the design, the type of closure and the sole rubber. Even choosing a size can seem like a difficult task. Many climbers own several pairs of shoes for use in specific disciplines, such as bouldering, multi-pitch and sport climbing. There are also shoes that are best for use "out on the rock" or "indoors in the hall”. In our shop you'll find both approach shoes and climbing shoes from brands, such as La Sportiva, Red Chili, Boreal, Evolv and Five Ten.
The design determines the use
The different models can’t be anymore different. For example, soft and flexible shoes are best for slab climbing, while aggressively pre-tensioned shoes are best for conquering overhanging rocks. Some models’ heels will push the foot forward "into the shoe", which will create a tensioned heel and provide more feeling. The smaller the foothold and the more overhanging the wall is, the more pre-tensioning the shoe requires. Another selection criteria is the midsole’s hardness because it determines how much support the foot gets when standing and how sensitive the sole feels. As a rule of thumb, stiffer soles provide sure-footedness on small ledge holds, for crack climbing or for the hall. On the other hand, friction climbing requires soft soles as well as more foot power.
Closure: an overview of the different systems
There are three types of closure systems climbing shoes can have: laces, hook-and-loop fasteners or they can be slip-on shoes. The first one offers the best traction and a variety of individual adjustment options, while the second provides a good fit and allows for a quick on/off. Slip-on shoes have an elastic that helps it stay on your feet, so you should rather choose small and narrow ones. Slip-ons are preferred by boulderes because they can be taken off quickly after every hard attempt or when taking breaks, while lace-up models are rather made for alpine multi-pitch routes because they're more comfortable. In addition, you can attach your shoes by the pull tab to the carabiners on your climbing harness when taking a break.
From soft to hard soles
Softer soles provide more friction on rock and plastic. However, the soft sole’s outer edges are less stiff than harder soles. So, one of the disadvantage of softer soles is that they wear out more quickly, especially when misused. A good balance between traction and durability is offered by the Five Tens Stealth rubber. There are shoes on the market made for boulderers, whose soles are less thick for maximum sensation and make it possible to use your toes for a hold. Some even have both a rubber layer on the surface of the entire shoe and a specific heel shape for improved hook performance.
Manufacturers and size selection
Many climbers have realized that a certain manufacturer’s shoes fit them better than others. Each manufacturer has their own standards, which is what leads climbers to stick with one brand, since they’re sure the shoes will fit. It’s recommended to choose a slightly smaller size for both performance models and tech fit models because the toes have more curl, which ensures maximum performance. Comfort fit models are best suited for people who want to wear the shoes for longer periods of time. The size of the shoes in relation to the street shoe size depends on the manufacturer and can be determined in the size guide. When selecting the size, you should note that the upper stretches between 0.5 sizes (synthetic leather) and 1.5 sizes (real leather) after breaking them in for approximately ten rope lengths